There are many people that have been attracted to the art of BJJ at a later point in life. As we all know, old age has its benefits, but it also has its drawbacks. Older people simply cannot move as fast and as explosive as when they were younger. They are also, on average, more prone to injuries. Well, there is a school of thought that older people should take a different approach to BJJ. This school is called “Old Man Jiu-Jitsu”. Below you will learn more about this style of BJJ.
Older people and warm-ups
Younger people are known for how fast they can warm their body up. They can remain lying down in bed for hours on end and then they can jump up into hard BJJ sparing at a moment’s notice. As you may presume, it’s just not as simple for older people. They need to progressively warm their bodies up before starting to train. The joints and muscles may feel stiffer prior to exercise. As an older person, you will need to steadily increase the blood flow rate in your body before getting down to business.
But this is not to say that younger people shouldn’t warm-up – on the contrary. We’re only trying to say that it’s more likely that younger people can get away with not warming up properly. The truth is that everyone should do warm-ups for 10-15 minutes before the meat of the training session. And this especially applies to older people.
BJJ techniques for older people
As you get older, your speed, agility, strength, flexibility, and explosivity will all start to worsen. As it turns out, all of these elements are extremely useful for your BJJ game. What you will need to do as an older person is hone down on your technique more so than you would focus on your athleticism. Now, this may very well be a blessing in disguise. You will have to pick the various nuances in various techniques in order to make them work without the use of athleticism. And this will help you perfect your BJJ skills.
In all cases, we advise you to be very careful with doing explosive moves that demand high flexibility. It’s perfectly okay to do basic BJJ techniques like the armbar or the triangle that won’t strain your body. It’s not that ideal to do techniques like the cartwheel guard pass as an older person.
But we feel like we need to add another caveat. If you’re older it doesn’t mean that you don’t have any strength or speed or explosiveness left. It means that you have LESS of it than when you were younger. And this is not even always the case – people over 40 usually develop the so-called “old man strength” and they are stronger than they have ever been before. So, you’re free to use your athleticism as an older person – just make sure that you use it carefully so as to not get injured.
The importance of lifestyle for older people that train BJJ
As you get older, your body won’t be able to withstand so much punishment. Younger people can go on a binge drinking session and not sleep all night – and then still get to practice BJJ the next day feeling relatively fresh. If an older person does this – then he or she may end up in a hospital from overstraining the body.
So, it becomes even more important as an older person to take care of your body properly, both on and off the mats. Make sure that you sleep well every night and at nearly the same time. Also, drink plenty of water and eat healthy foods. Decrease your stress if you’re overstressed (BJJ will help you out with this). In this way, you will be able to maintain the health of your body – your temple – well into old age.
Old Man Jiu-Jitsu and young people
There is a recently developed school of thought that says that everyone should practice old man jiu-jitsu – even young people. The reasoning behind this is that it will enable you to focus more on the way you execute your techniques, rather than on your athleticism. The decreased strain on your body means that you won’t punish it as much.
However, we don’t really think that this is the right way for younger people. After all, BJJ is many things, and one of them is exercise. You need to use your body and push it near its limit while training. This will not only improve your BJJ game, but it will also make your body stronger. If you want to see a treatise on why Old Man Jiu-Jitsu is not for younger people, check the video below:
The Old Man Jiu-Jitsu as a school of thought definitely has its merits. Older people need to follow the same principles that young people need to follow – they just need to do it more strictly. The alternative is increasing the probability of potentially catastrophic injuries.
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